The active and passive roles of the ocean in generating basin-scale heat content variability

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Authors

Dafydd Stephenson , Florian Sévellec 

Abstract

The role of ocean circulation in transforming surface forcing into interannual-to-multidecadal oceanic variability is an area of ongoing debate. Here, a novel method, establishing exact causal links, is used to quantitatively determine the role of ocean active and passive processes in transforming stochastic surface forcing into heat content variability. To this end, we use a global ocean model in which the dynamical response to forcing can be switched on (fully active) or off (purely passive) and consider the resulting effect on heat content variance. While the ocean passive processes mainly control the surface variance (over 92\%) in all basins, most regions show the importance of active processes at depth. This role is particularly important for full-depth North Atlantic heat content, which we investigate further, highlighting signatures of the meridional overturning circulation.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5TS49

Subjects

Climate, Oceanography, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Keywords

ocean, climate, Heat content, variability, passive, decadal predictability

Dates

Published: 2021-01-28 14:48

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License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data Availability (Reason not available):
(A comprehensive data availability statement is included in the manuscript)

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